Open call for speakers: talk to members of Research Ethics Committees (RECs) about your experience of equality, diversity and inclusion in research

Last updated on 2 Apr 2024

Every year, REC members come together at regional REC development days where they meet face to face, build working relationships within their own committees and across other RECs, and discuss topical issues. This year, part of the development days are dedicated to talking about equality, diversity and inclusion in health and social care research. Speakers will be discussing how including diverse groups of people in research can provide a better understanding of the most effective treatment, device, and care, and can help to reduce health inequalities. Researchers who have worked to make their studies more inclusive will share their experiences too.

You can find out more about RECs and REC members on our website.

What skills are experience are needed?

You don’t need to know much about the HRA or RECs. Our learning team is looking for people who can share a powerful story about taking part in research that included them, when traditionally this hasn’t been the case.

We think it’s important that speakers meet these criteria:

  1. you are able to talk about the importance to you personally of being included in research that you were able to participate in or someone close to you participated in, when perhaps traditionally studies like this haven’t included a wide range of people
  2. you are able to talk about the impact that being included had on you directly or someone you know
  3. you have experience of speaking to a large number of people about your experiences, in a way that is comfortable for you, and memorable for the audience

We are looking for people who can travel to at least two of the in-person development days listed below. Please let us know which ones you would be able to attend.

Who is the audience?

Depending on the venue, there will be between 80 and 300 members of RECs, and some HRA staff, who will be hosting and facilitating the day.

All REC members are required to have training on equality, diversity, and inclusion. Members will have personal or professional experience of planning or taking part in research that aims to be equitable and inclusive. Other speakers on the day will be discussing changes to help make sure that clinical research is designed to include people who could benefit from the findings, and that people underserved by research are not overlooked.

You won’t need to persuade your audience that research should be done with and for everyone. But hearing directly from people taking part in research, will help improve understanding of the impact of being involved in research.

How long will I speak for?

10 minutes. There will be 30 minutes in total. We would like to hear from two people for 10 minutes each, with 10 minutes for questions.

Dates and locations

The events are taking place at these venues:

We are looking for speakers to attend two or more REC development days in person. The programme will last from 10am to 4pm. You are very welcome to attend for the whole day, (refreshments and lunch will be provided) or you can just arrive for your part which will be mid-morning, around 10.45 am to 12.05pm.

How accessible are the venues?

HRA staff have visited all venues to confirm: induction hearing loop; wheelchair accessible; quiet room. Please get in touch with the public involvement team for further information.

How to prepare?

To help prepare you for the events we would ask you to:

  • read a two-page briefing document that explains more about the REC development days
  • attend an online briefing meeting in mid-May with Reshma Raycoba (Head of Approvals Support and Improvement), Louise Braley, (Member Engagement and Development Manager), Zoe Pipe (Digital Learning and Operations Manager) and a member of the public involvement team to discuss plans. You will have an opportunity to ask questions and help the team make sure the days are welcoming, respectful, inclusive and useful for everyone
  • develop your talk. You might like to consider talking about a well-designed study where the research team had really thought about inclusion, and the difference this made to you. In particular, it would be helpful to share with the REC members what the situation was, why this study was different to your previous experience of research and what aspects made a difference to you. You can talk without any slides, or you can prepare some slides if you would prefer
  • attend a short online meeting before the development day to meet other people who will be speaking at the event, and to make sure the day runs smoothly

What support is offered?

The briefing documents and meetings will give you more information on the audience, to help plan your talk.

Speaking about your experience of research, and about issues relating to inclusion and equality, is not easy. The public involvement team will support you to think about which parts of your experience you are comfortable sharing, and what you may prefer not to talk about.

Zoe Pipe, HRA Digital Learning and Operations Manager, is responsible for all the logistics of the REC development days. Her team will make sure that your travel is booked, caterers are aware of any dietary requirements, and venue staff meet access requirements.

The 30-minute session will be hosted by a member of the approvals support team. They will facilitate a question-and-answer session and make sure this is positive and useful for everyone.

A member of the public involvement team will meet you when you arrive at the REC development day and will be available for a ‘de-brief’ after you have spoken.

After each REC development day, the organisers gather anonymous feedback from attendees. We will summarise and share this feedback so you know how your talk has been received.

How do I express interest?

To apply, please tell us your availability, and how you meet the criteria above by 12pm on Wednesday 17 April 2024.

You can either:

  • complete a short application form or
  • write up to 300 words in total, or
  • record a video or voice recording of no more than two minutes

Please email this to the public involvement team at, using ‘call for speakers’ in the email subject line.

If you have any questions, or anything is unclear, you can call the public involvement team on 020 7104 8161.

How will you select the speakers?

We are looking for speakers to attend at least two REC development days.

Two members of HRA staff will score against the criteria above. We will shortlist people who have met the criteria and then select speakers based on availability, and in order to have different experiences of research.

For example, someone who has taken part in social care and someone who has been a participant in health research.

Will I receive payment?

Our learning team can offer:

  • £200 to cover preparing for the REC development days by reading the briefing document and attending the meetings described above
  • £200 for each REC development day you speak at

Will my expenses be covered?

Yes. It is our policy to cover reasonable expenses, if agreed in advance. For example travel, additional childcare, a carer or personal assistant, or accommodation, if needed.

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